No one knows more about what it takes to win the Quik Pro France than Mick Fanning. The 3x World Champion claimed his fourth event win in Hossegor in 2013 and in doing so overtook Andy Irons to become France's most successful surfer. Having retired earlier this year and now willing to share his classified material, we asked Fanning for his secrets of success in the Hossegor beachbreaks.
The Crystal Ball Effect:
The one thing that I really stuck with through all my times in France was something I called the Crystal Ball Effect. To win here you need to try and predict what would happen over the course of each heat on the different banks used for the event. With everything changing so fast in France due to the huge tide differences, you need to be across all the potential lineup changes. In the 40 minutes from when you are getting ready for a heat to when the buzzer goes till when you come in, the waves can change dramatically. Most of my tips below are about dealing with that.
When I first get into Hossegor I check the banks pretty much every hour for the first few days just to see what changes are happening. This would help me predict what would happen on what tides. Those checks and constant freesurfs would set me up for the competitive week.
Eyes On The Ocean:
When I was there I'd always make sure that I was in a location where I could see the ocean. Whether that was back at my apartment or even at lunch. That way I could always keep an eye on the conditions so I was never caught out.
In France my day pack would always be checked and ready to go. With the event often stopping and starting each day I would always have my pack and boards prepared so I could just run out the door at a moment's notice. Good luck if you were staying with me and tried to keep up, because when I wanted to go I was gone in a heartbeat.
Boards on Ice:
Once I had an idea of the banks I would ride my best boards to see if they worked. When I found the keepers I would put them on ice. I'd stick to my backups in all the freesurfs because it is so easy to break boards over there.
Game plans in heats were extremely crucial in France. I would try break them down into quarters and try to figure out how to get the best wave per quarter. This would also keep me moving around so I didn't stagnate in the lineup. Too many times I have seen people waiting for a wave that had stopped coming a half-hour previously.
Low Expectations, Open Mind:
And lastly being open minded and versatile is a huge factor in doing well at the Quik Pro France. I feel with all the conditions you get there are going to be times where you're grinding out a heat in one round, then having the surf of your life in the next. Being ready for anything and having no expectations is the key winning heats in my experience.
Watch the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France live October 3 - 14 on Worldsurfleague.com and Facebook.